This has been a hard week for all of us at the RBR Tailgating offices and test kitchens. If you’ve ever purchased a lottery ticket you know how we feel. You buy a chance of something on the horizon. Something big. A remote chance, but it’s a possibility.
With a lottery ticket in your pocket, there you are on Tuesday imagining the how smoothly your new 1961 E Type Jaguar convertible (British Racing Green, natch) handles the Taco Bell drive through lane safe in the knowledge that the until the actual power ball drawing on Wednesday your daydreams have as much right to the “financial planning” part of your fevered brain as they do to the “If I had a lightsaber that guy wouldn’t be so smug about how well he’s managed various aspects of his financial planning.” part of your brain. But there is the inevitable Wednesday drawing that rips your avericial dreams from you, exposing them for the tawdry two dollar farce you always knew they were.
That’s what happened with the tailgating column and Les Miles. His firing took away the possibility of the greatest possible but unlikely bowl meeting, probably somewhere in Florida, of The Hat vs. Jim Harbaugh; the Grass Eater vs. the Guy-Who-Pretty-Much-Seems-to-be-Eating-a-Booger-Plucked-Right-Out-of-His-Nose-on-Video-in-Front-of-a-Home-Crowd-of-105K-but-Denies-It.
That would have been a special edition tailgate post to end all special edition tailgate posts. What a salad I would have made. And then reality crashed the party. There could have been songs about it.
Sorry. Enough bellyaching. On to the Wildcats.
It would seem obvious that in keeping with the claimed objective of making each recipe as relevant to the opponent as possible that I would be writing about fried chicken for the Kentucky game.
There are a couple of reasons why I’m not going to do that.
First off, the entity formally known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, and that’s why we have the food to state association, opted to be called KFC over twenty years ago. The better bet is that the K in KFC still stands for Kentucky, but it could just as well be Kazakhstan. Further, the super top secret recipe that the Colonel’s antecedents held so tightly to the chest might as well have been passed through a home-made email server set up in a Chappaqua bathroom as the secret eleven herbs and spices appear to have been accidently revealed mid-August to a Chicago Tribune reporter.
I wasn’t in the mood for Burgoo either.
The following recipe has nothing to do with our upcoming opponents. It’s just amazing food.
Not to brag, but this is one of the best meals I’ve ever come up with it. Not only is bacon included as a garnish, the bacon is buttered.
Lisa Dahl is a chef I follow on Twitter. Someone Tweeted a picture from the patio of her Sedona, Arizona restaurant, Mariposa, that just staggered me. The view was of desert and huge red and purple rocks. I spent at minimum an hour going over the menus of her various restaurants. This week’s tailgate is not taken from so much as inspired by her Southwestern food. I don’t claim any of this to be authentic to any region or that this is the type of dish Chef Dahl would serve. I just saw some interesting ingredients, messed around on the web, and played. It worked.
Before You Get to Bryant Denny
Very Tiny, Miniscule Onion Rings
- 1 Yellow Onion, sliced very thinly
- All Purpose Flour
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- Salt & Pepper
- Vegetable Oil
- Three Slices of Bacon, crumbled into little bits
- 3 tbsps. Unsatled Butter, melted
Red Wine Sauce
- 1 cup Red Wine
- ½ Shallot, minced
- Unsalted Butter, I used 3 tbsps. but have up to 4 or 5 if needed as it will be a matter of personal preference
This is all stuff that needs to be done the day before. I didn’t do a very good job of taking pictures for this stage. Sorry about that. That Onions should be cut somewhere between spaghetti and vermicelli. We want them to be a fried garnish as opposed to a side.
You can get away with using pre-fried store bought onions like French’s. It won’t be as good, but it saves time. I opted to fry my own because around two o’clock Wednesday afternoon Amazon delivered my new Etekcity Infrared Thermometer. From a distance I held in my hand the power to verify that frying oil surface temperature was an acceptable 375˚. So, having a new toy, naturally I did so.
I forgot to take a picture of the oil before I fried the onions, but I did get a pretty cool shot of the onions before I cooked them at 76˚.
In small batches, take the onion, dip into a bowl with the beaten eggs and coat, dredge in the flour and flash fry in the hot oil.
It really should take no more than a minute if that. Go for golden to light brown, no more. Let drain on a paper towel covered plate or bowl and let cool. They are not meant to be served hot. When cool, pack in a bag or box for use the next day.
Bacon is up next. Cook three pieces of it, let cool and crumble into tiny pieces. Melt three tbsps. of butter and stir in with crumbled bacon. Set aside for the next day.
Shallots come in a variety of sizes. I want a quantity equal to the size of my thumb. If that’s half or three fourths of a shallot or whatever, so be it. I suppose that that thumbs also come in a variety of sizes too. Slightly more than Champagne cork size will do.
Sautee the shallot in a few glugs of olive oil in a very tiny sauce pan, add the wine and reduce by half or so. Introduce the butter a sliver at a time over medium to low heat. When you are happy with the consistency, salt to taste, let cool, and store cold. The sauce, pan and all, are going on the grill at BDS tomorrow.
When you hit the Quad/Surrounding Areas
1 ½ lbs Hanger Steak
4 Ears Corn
Handful Cilantro, chopped
Feta Cheese, crumbled
New to hanger steaks? Lucky you. And lucky me for getting introductory credit.
It’s one of the cuts that gets categorized as a “butcher’s cut.” The conceit is that the butcher brings it home because he’ll never sell it as most folks don’t know how to cook it properly, but in the right hands… amazing.
It’s usually sold as seen here.
The steak needs to be cut along the fat strip in the middle to make two pieces that can later be cut, post cooking, into scallops.
Salt is all it needs, followed by five or six minutes a side on a covered grill.
At the same time, the corn, peppered and rolled in olive oil and wrapped in aluminum foil can go on too. Ditto the sauce pan needed to reheat the red wine sauce. The sauce should be in it. Do I have to say that? I may have to say that.
Important note about Hanger steaks: they are very iron rich. That means they are very bloody inside. So when a hanger steak is cooked to medium rare it looks rare. When it cooks to medium it looks medium rare. When it cooks to medium well it seizes up and tastes awful. Err on the side of undercooked.
I was tempted to toss the arugula and red peppers with a red wine vinaigrette but the drippings from the steak plus the red wine butter sauce seemed to be enough. I left them alone.
To serve I placed a few scallops of steak with its juice and red wine sauce over arugula and red pepper slivers. Next to that I had the corn cooked in olive oil with black pepper. I slathered it in buttered bacon and feta cheese with chopped cilantro. Fried onions finished the dish.
So this had nothing to do with Kentucky, but it’s doable within the shadow of the stadium and that should count for something.
Sorry for getting distracted by my new temperature taking toy. I dropped the ball at two nexi - frying onions and sauce reducing - of visual instruction by not getting good pictures.
What I did get was:
A surprisingly warm glass of white wine.
54˚ pre cooked steak. Once you start it’s hard to stop.
145˚ cooking steak and corn – grill uncovered to get the picture though it should not be for cooking.
Gloriously bloody meat at 110˚.
83˚ dog at rest.
84.9˚ dog once roused.
I don’t suspect that we see anything surprising from the Wildcats game. They will run and run and try to run. We will pass to test our own abilities and see what the freshmen RB’s can do. Either way I’ll keep a temp reading on my television.
No Injuries, Roll Tide, and enjoy.